Chhapaak and Tanhaji: Factors that decided box office run of Deepika Padukone, Ajay Devgn’s films

Updated on Jan 13, 2020 05:12 PM IST

Film trade analysts talk about the weekend box office performance of Chhapaak and Tanhaji and what they have in store in the coming week.

Tanhaji and Chhapaak need to maintain their rhythm at the box office this week.
Tanhaji and Chhapaak need to maintain their rhythm at the box office this week.
Hindustan Times | ByRuchi Kaushal

Deepika Padukone’s Chhapaak released alongside Ajay Devgn’s Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior but with different budgets, share of screens and subjects, they were always expected to have diverse reactions. While Chhapaak collected Rs 19 crore in the first weekend, Tanhaji roared at a whopping Rs 61.65 crore.

However, trade is confident that both the films were judged cinematically and the actor’s visit to the Jawaharlal Nehru University had no effect on the box office.

Asked if the controversy actually hampered Chhapaak’s box office run, film trade analyst Girish Johar says, “No, I don’t think so. The film performs on the basis of what it is. The weekend has been decent, Monday is critical for the film. Both the films have an advantage of partial holidays and can improve.”

Deepika Padukone and Vikrant Massey in a still from Chhapaak.
Deepika Padukone and Vikrant Massey in a still from Chhapaak.

Film exhibitor Akshay Rathi agrees and believes social media is not the reflection of the ground level reality. “All the hype around it is on the social media. There are so many CAA and NRC supporters who have made the appeal to watch the film. If social media was a reflection of the reality, the numbers would have been something else. Any Rohit Shetty movie is slammed by the critics, but look at the numbers they do!” he says.

Did the screen count affect the performance of Chhapaak?

Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh had shared the screen count of the film with Tanhaji holding 3880 screens and Chhapaak 1700 screens in India. He had tweeted, “Tanhaji screen count...India: 3880 [2D and 3D formats; Hindi and Marathi versions]. Overseas: 660. Worldwide total: 4540 screens. Chhapaak screen count...India: 1700. Overseas: 460. Worldwide total: 2160 screens.”


Akshay calls the numbers of Chhapaak “very respectable and completely in sync with the expectations.” He says, “You put Deepika Padukone in a mainstream entertainer, the numbers will be higher. You put her in a subject-driven, issue-based film,the numbers will be what they are.”

Justifying Chhapaak’s weekend collection of Rs 19 crore, Akshay said, “Looking at the screen count, Warner Bros’ Joker had half the number of screens compared to Chhapaak but registered similar numbers. What you need to look at is the intrinsic value and potential appeal of the film. Chhapaak cannot attract an average Indian moviegoer. It can perform better in metros and focuses on intellectual audience.”

He feels Tanhaji is for the masses and therefore the screen count is much higher.

Ajay Devgn and Kajol in a still from Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior.
Ajay Devgn and Kajol in a still from Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior.

Has Chhapaak failed to meet up the expectations from a Meghna Gulzar film?

Directed by Meghna Gulzar, Chhapaak has earned lower than the weekend total of her last film, Raazi, which collected RS 35 crore in its first weekend. However, the analysts feel the two films shouldn’t be compared in terms of box office collections.

Akshay says, “Its not about women-driven films. Raazi was an incredible suspense thriller. It was as entertaining as it was patriotic, which is the mood of the nation right now. The Sky Is Pink was Priyanka’s comeback film but the numbers were neither close to Mardaani nor Raazi. It’s the subject not the star that matters.”

Girish agrees that the cast of Raazi as well as the budget were comparatively bigger than Chhapaak. “You can’t compare them. The positioning of the film is different. Mardaani had collected similar numbers but had better word of mouth which helped it sustain at the box office,” he says.

How is the weekend performance of the film?

Girish calls Chhapaak’s response “average” and hopes the film recovers on the partial holiday of Lohri and Makar Sankranti. “It can sustain itself during the week, it can eventually turn out to be a success. The numbers are coming in Deepika’s name and what the director has made. We should give credit to her for attempting this film. And despite that the numbers are coming, its good. It should benefit on partial holidays.”



Akshay believes Tanhaji has performed above expectations. He says, “The title of the movie ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’ completely gives away what my hypothesis is. Despite his heroics and his contribution in what the map of India is right now, he is hardly known outside the borders of Maharashtra. Despite that the film has done terrific numbers all over the country. It has definitely exceeded my expectations.”

He adds Chhapaak is expected to sustain at a respectable level. “Looking at what Tanhaji’s numbers are coming in on Monday, its terrific despite being a working Monday,” he says.

Will Chhapaak recover its budget?

Girish says Tanhaji is “expensive” and “is likely to recover” its budget. Talking about Chhapaak, he is confident that the rights’ monetization has been good but adds, “for box office, we need to see the performance over the coming week days, which as of now is very much average.”

Akshay is certain recovering the budget of the film will not be a problem. He says, “They have many other avenues of satellite, music, OTT platforms to recover money from. There won’t be a scenario where Fox Star Studios and Deepika invest in a film where they can lose the money. Fox Star’s own satellite network Star and the OTT network Hotstar are extremely strong in getting terrific revenues. When you have Deepika in the film, you do expect higher numbers but this is not a commercial entertainer, its an issue-based film. These films are not expected to have a massive opening but are expected to have a good run over a period of time.”

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